Twenty years ago today the Berlin Wall started to come down. In 1979 I was stationed in West Berlin taking part in the Berlin Military Tattoo. I was billeted in Smuts Barracks, which was right next door to Spandau Prison. The only resident in the prison was Rudolf Hess who had been Adolf Hitler's deputy. Spandau was in the British sector of the city. The four occupying powers took it in turns to guard him, each guarding tour was for three months. Even though Berlin was a divided city military personnel in uniform were allowed to enter the East sector through 'Check Point Charlie' The East with it's contrast to the West, was fascinating, just like a scene from the film 'The Third Man'. The buildings were drab the cars were drab in fact everything was drab. The goose stepping East German soldiers could not believe their eyes when we turned up in our different tartan kilts. I later managed to beg a helicopter patrol of the Boarder and The Berlin Wall. The lengths the East German authorities went too to contain their people was unbelievable. On the east side of the wall, there were manned and armed watch towers every 400 metres. Each tower was about 200 metres from the wall this area was kept barren and continuously ploughed. At the foot of the wall was a sloping ditch, making any attempt to escape by vehicle imposible. If anyone tried to escape on foot there were very large German shepherd savage dogs running along overhead wires. If you were not shot you would be eaten. We hovered over Rudolf Hess's garden in Spandau Prison. But he was taking the morning off, pity. We all loved Berlin with it's wall and it's danger. Regards. Bryan
Yes. I visited Berlin in the early 1980s when it was a divided city and stayed in West Berlin. You certainly felt isolated and surrounded although of course even then the Western part was still a very nice place. I also remember when I was living in Germany thinking that the country would never be reunited - how wrong can you be!